View single post by Trebor
 Posted: Wed May 16th, 2007 08:53 pm
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Joined: Tue May 2nd, 2006
Location: Frisco, Texas USA
Posts: 821
I started writing this a few weeks ago…

Battery Operated/Remote Control Trains

When I built my On30 Center Line layout I quickly discovered that those cute 0-4-0 locomotives just don’t want to run through turnouts. That was the first time I looked into battery operated locos. It’s very simple to hook a loco up to a battery but you need some way to control it. Remote control.
I hunted around on the internet and found lots of people talking about battery operated/ remote control but finding any decent information on how to do it was difficult.

There’s a Yahoo group called the Texas Outlaws. They had a couple of people using RC and a lot of references to it but not enough details. I even ran into them at a couple of trains shows and talked to them. Still couldn’t figure it out.

The info I could gather went something like this: “Get a receiver and some crystals, get an ESC unit, get some batteries and hook it all up. Oh, yeah, get a transmitter too.”

RC cars have been around for a long time and they aren’t that different than a train. They go forward and backwards, they can go fast or slow and they can turn left or right. A train only needs two of the three so it shouldn’t be that hard. I went to some RC hobby shops and the people working (mostly kids) just scratched their heads and said “that should work” but they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) come up with any solutions for me.

I knew one option would be to buy a complete RC car and pull out the parts. I could probably do that now but I didn’t know enough to try it a month ago.

Back to the Texas Outlaws. One of their members, Woody, seamed to be the ring leader of the effort and know the most about it. I checked back on the Yahoo site recently and saw a post from Woody about a new receiver/ESC unit that simplified the process. Woody works at a hobby shop in Dallas so I gave him a call one morning. The next thing I knew, I was at the shop. The next thing I knew, I had a train running.

OK – DISCLAIMER. I will tell you exactly what I bought and what I did. It works for me. It should work for you. But if it blows up for you, it’s not my fault.

First I bought a Receiver/ESC (electronic speed control) from Team LOSI, about 30 bucks. The product number is LOSB0803.

Then I bought a Futaba 2DR digital proportional 2-stick transmitter, about 50 bucks.




The Futaba came with some servos and a receiver. You don’t use those. It also included a set of crystals. I took the crystal out of the included receiver and put it in the LOSI receiver.

I used a regular 9-volt battery. This battery powers both the train and the receiver.

The specs for receiver say the maximum voltage is 8.4 volts. What’s .6 volts among friends? (See disclaimer above)

You hook the black and red wires from the receiver to the battery and the orange and blue go to the engine.

IT WORKS. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes to put it all together. 

I just dropped everything in a gondola.


 The battery and receiver will easily fit into one of my small On30 boxcars.

The motor makes a high pitched noise when it is running really slow but it goes away with increased speed. It runs a little jerky but as I run it more often, I get better at operating it.

I actually bought a second receiver so I can use the other joystick and operate two separate engines from one receiver.

That’s all for now.           Questions please.


Last edited on Wed May 16th, 2007 09:29 pm by Trebor

Frisco, Texas
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